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CrossFit Benchmark WOD

154.3K 3.1K
  • 3 Rounds For Time
  • 400 meter Run
  • 21 Kettlebell Swings (1.5/1 pood)
  • 12 Pull-Ups

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the 3 rounds of work in the order written.

Score is the time it takes to complete 3 rounds.

Good Times for “Helen” (source)
– Beginner: 15-17 minutes
– Intermediate: 11-14 minutes
– Advanced: 9-10 minutes
– Elite: <8 minutes

Tips and Strategy

“The first goal in Helen is to push for unbroken sets on the work inside the gym. In order to do so, we are looking at pacing the runs to ensure we can accomplish these numbers in big, consistent chunks across all three rounds. Just like on “Nancy”, we would rather slow down the runs a touch if that allows you to hold onto the bell and pull-up bar. If we have the movements on the inside of the gym unbroken without a doubt, it’s the opposite approach – it’s a question of how hard can we push the running. For athletes with previous scores, doing the math for what split they need to hold across the three rounds will help them feel out if they are on track when they leave the building after round one.” – Ben Bergeron

Intended Stimulus

Helen is meant to feel fast and light. The volume on this workout is relatively low, so the movements should be unbroken. If you have to rest for long periods of time or break the Pull-Up/Kettlebell Swings into more than 2 sets, you’ll lose the intended intensity. Scale as needed to achieve a fast pace throughout the WOD.


This benchmark workout is an all out sprint. The swings and pull-ups should be easy enough that you are still able to push the pace on the runs. Intermediate athletes can complete this as prescribed.

Beginner Option
3 Rounds for Time:
200 meter Run
15 Kettlebell Swings (1/.75 pood)
9 Jumping Pull-Ups

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namesake photo

Background: “Helen” is one of CrossFit’s classic “Girls” WODs. It was first posted on the CrossFit Main Site as the workout of the day for Saturday, August 9, 2003 (030809), but it was unnamed at that time. It appeared again as the workout of the day for Wednesday, November 5, 2003 (031105) – which is the first time the name “Helen” accompanied it, along with a quote from Helen Keller: “We can do anything we want as long as we stick to it long enough.”

See also: All “The Girls” WODs, “Double Helen”, “Pyramid Double Helen”

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